Will it affect my compensation claim if I am contributory negligent in a road traffic accident?
If you are contributory negligent in a road traffic accident, you could still be eligible for compensation, explains Catherine Hyde, Personal Injury Specialist at Coodes Solicitors.
Many people assume that if they are found to be partly responsible for an accident they will not be able to claim compensation for their injuries. This is not necessarily the case.
What is contributory negligence?
Contributory negligence means being partly responsible for the accident or the injuries you have suffered. Crucially, it means that another person’s actions were also to blame for the outcome.
To be deemed contributory negligent, your actions either partly caused the accident or made your injuries more serious.
- You crossed a road at a place that is known to be dangerous and were hit by a car that was being driven over the speed limit. Your actions made the accident more likely, but it would not have happened if the driver was not speeding.
- You were injured in an accident after getting into a car, knowing that the driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The driver was responsible for the accident but you contributed to your injuries by accepting a lift from someone you knew was unfit to drive.
- You suffered serious injuries as a result of a car hitting you on your motorcycle when you were not wearing adequate safety gear. The accident was not your fault but your injuries were made worse because you did not properly protect yourself.
In each of these examples, your own choices and behaviours influenced the outcome. However, they would not be the main or only cause of your injuries.
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If I am contributory negligent will I receive compensation?
The purpose of compensation in any personal injury claim is to help you get your life back on track. For example, your injuries may have temporarily or permanently affected your ability to work and your income. Compensation can also help you get the rehabilitation you need on your journey to recovery.
If you are found to be contributory negligent in a road traffic accident, you do not automatically lose your right to claim compensation. However, the amount you receive may be reduced. Every case is different. To work out how much compensation you should receive, the courts will decide how much your actions contributed to your injuries.
You usually have three years from the date of the accident to pursue a personal injury claim so it is important to seek advice as early as possible. An experienced lawyer specialising in personal injury claims can advise you on whether or not you have a good case. To pursue your claim, they will scrutinise the police report and any witness statements.
If you have been injured in an accident but feel you were partly to blame for your injuries get advice from a specialist personal injury lawyer. You may still be entitled to get the compensation you need to help you on the road to recovery.